U.S. Post Office (Downtown Station)

Finished in 1930, the U.S. Post Office in downtown Phoenix was built by private architects who designed typical federal buildings from the 1920s and 1930s. The art that is found inside the building is quite unique. The murals reflect the economic and social downturn of the depression and represent the social realist art movement of the 1930s and 40s.

Social Realism was an art movement that depicted working class citizens and the poor. It is supposed to be a critical view of life. A famous social realism piece can be found in the Kansas State Capital in Topeka called "Tragic Prelude." The painting is of John Brown rising to the top during the Bleeding Kansas conflict. Bleeding Kansas was a hot conflict just prior to the American Civil War. Another notable example is the painting "American Gothic" painted by Grand Wood which depicts a farming couple holding a pitchfork and sport sour faces.

The post office has been in use since 1936 and is much smaller than originally planned because of lack of funds during the depression. It was supposed to have two more stories and have been finished several years prior, but politics and slow government process during the Depression halted those dreams.

Images

Postcard
Postcard An old postcard with the Phoenix Post Office in the foreground and the Hotel Westward Ho in the background.
Interior
Interior Phoenix Post Office's classic interior is set up in symmetry with the help desk on one side and P.O. boxes on the other.
Plaque
Plaque This plaque found inside the building states "United States Post Office & Federal Building Constructed 1939."
Mural
Mural One of the wall murals inside the post office. These murals were painted by the famous John Steuart Curry.
Cowboy
Cowboy John Steuart Curry's painting depicts a man with a gun and a horse. Images like these are how the Old West was pictured by the rest of the nation and the world.
Mural
Mural John Steuart Curry who also painted the Bleeding Kansas painting inside the Kansas State Capitol building, depicts early Phoenix when explorers first met the native populations.
Exterior
Exterior The exterior of the Phoenix Post Office. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Location

Metadata

Thomas Black, “U.S. Post Office (Downtown Station),” Salt River Stories, accessed March 3, 2024, https://saltriverstories.org/items/show/105.